Autism-Europe advocates for the rights of autistic people in the European Union. To do so, we advocate for the mainstreaming of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into all relevant EU policies and legislation, and monitor its implementation. In doing this we place particular emphasis on raising awareness among decision-makers concerning the specific needs of autistic people. We also support our member organisations to advocate for better policies and legislation for autistic people at the national level.
The European Union is composed of several institutions, that each play a different role in making and enforcing laws, policies and budgets. Autism-Europe works to influence each of them in different ways.
To find out more about what each Institutions does, and how Autism-Europe operates in relation to them, simply click on the headers below:
European Council - Setting the Agenda
The European Council is the EU’s top political institution; it sets the EU’s goals and the course for achieving them. It is composed of the presidents and/or prime ministers of each Member State, plus the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council.
>> Autism-Europe supports our members to lobby their national governments regarding issues that are relevant at the EU level.
European Commission - Proposing and Implementing Laws
The European Commission is responsible for initiating and implementing laws, upholding the European Union’s treaties and managing the day-to-day running of the EU, including the majority of the EU’s budget and programs.
>> Autism-Europe responds to the structured consultations that the European Commission conducts with civil society organisations on policy matters relevant to autistic people.
>> Autism-Europe receives some funding from the European Commission.
Council of the EU and the European Parliament - Making Decisions
The budgets and most of the laws of the European Union are adopted through a co-decision procedure in which both the Council of the EU (representing national governments) and the European Parliament (representing European citizens through their directly elected MEPs), must agree on each proposed law and budget.
>> Autism-Europe’s Charter of Rights for Persons with Autism was adopted as a written declaration by the European Parliament in 1996.
>> Autism-Europe monitors European laws and policies while they are still in development, and where necessary we consult our members at the earliest possible stage of policy development.
As well as working with EU policies relevant to autistic persons and their families, Autism-Europe also takes a more global approach to advocating for autistic rights. One of our key areas of activity is to monitor, and push for the full implementation and respect of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Autism-Europe has established a structured dialogue with the European Institutions and is also active towards the World Health Organisation (WHO). We also enjoy a participative status (for non-governmental organisations) with the Council of Europe and in July 2002 lodged a collective complaint with the European Committee of Social Rights, becoming the first disability NGO to undertake such action.
Read the full-length explanation of Autism-Europe’s EU advocacy approach